From Ocean Drive to ‘Parecon’

The refrigerator magnet said: “Money can’t buy happiness. But it sure can make misery a whole lot better.”

Nevertheless, I have lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Vacationing in Florida with your significant other and a handful of good friends can be a wonderful thing.

Standing on the apartment balcony you can take postcard pictures of Miami bay with the downtown skyline as a backdrop. It’s a sight to behold.

But I digress. Back to the apartment complex. It’s one of those places where you drive up to the front and the attendant parks your car for you. When we left, the attendant rushed off to retrieve our rented Ford Focus as we waited on the front steps.

Just as the attendant was trying to back our car out of its temporary parking space and bring it to us, an elderly woman with a cane emerged from the apartment complex and limped toward the idling station wagon.

He backed up the car and quickly hopped out the driver’s seat. “I’m sorry. Sick…Sick,” he said, pointing at his head, implying that the woman with the cane was sick in the head for having the audacity of holding up a guest whose car couldn’t be fetched immediately.

As we drove off, I thought about my grandmother’s refrigerator magnet and something a classically-trained economist told me recently during a discussion about capitalism and the so-called anti-globalization protest movement.

Our discussion ended where these discussions usually do: “We all know the problems associated with capitalism, but what’s the alternative?”

Albert writes: “Anti-globalization activists, who might more usefully be called internationalist activists, oppose capitalist globalization precisely because it so aggressively violates the equity, diversity, solidarity, self management, and ecological balance essential to a better world.

Thinking about that refrigerator magnet, that old woman with her cane and the economist, I’m convinced that Albert’s book ought to be read and discussed widely because economics, ultimately, is about values. Buy the book, go to Miami and read it under a palm tree on Ocean Drive – if you can afford it.

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